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Hypothyroidism and Iron: Anemia and Hemochromatosis

The relationship between hypothyroidism and iron levels

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Updated July 03, 2008

Conditions related to iron levels in the blood are more common with hypothyroidism than in the average population, according to researchers.

Iron-deficiency anemia (insufficient iron) is more common in people with hypothyroidism. Symptoms or signs of anemia include:
  • Feeling tired or weak
  • Pale appearance to the lining of lower eyelids
  • palpitations, fast or irregular heart beat.
  • faintness and breathlessness.
  • hair loss.
  • bruising that occurs without reason
  • dizziness
  • long or unusually heavy menstrual periods
Anemia is diagnosed using a comprehensive iron panel blood test.

In addition to your doctor's recommendations regarding treatment for anemia and any suggested iron supplementation, you can also consider the following recommendations
  • Eat more foods that are good sources of iron.
  • Help your body absorb iron better by eating foods high in vitamin C.
  • Red meat can supply iron, but also helps your body absorb iron from other foods.
  • Limit your use of tea, except herbal teas.
  • Increase dietary fiber to prevent constipation.
Hemochromatosis is less common, but more frequently seen in people with hypothyroidism Symptoms of hemochromatosis include:
  • chronic fatigue
  • arthritis-like pain in joints, in particular, the middle two fingers
  • loss of libido (sex drive), impotence
  • early absence of menstrual periods
  • changes in skin color, yellowish, bronze, grey, olive
  • redness in the palms
  • abdominal pain
  • shortness of breath
  • heart arrhythmia
  • depression
  • elevated blood sugar
Hemochromatosis is not easy to diagnose, as it is not revealed in routine blood work so doctors need to request specific tests to diagnose it.

Treatment for hemochromatosis is a doctor-supervised program of giving blood, known as phlebotomy.

A detailed article on Hypothyroidism and Iron Levels is featured online.

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